Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Passion of Silva Followers

I attended the Daniel Silva book signing today at Murder By the Book bookstore in Houston.  It is usually SRO at one of these events, so today I arrived one hour before Mr. Silva would speak. The place was packed out one hour before the event time. I could not believe it.  

I bought a book and was given #77--meaning I was the 77th book they had sold and there would be 76 ahead of me for book signing. There was a maximum of three former books and as many of the current as you purchased.  Looked like it could be a long wait when we got to that point.

I found a fairly good place to stand, but it was still 50 minutes before the start time. While waiting, I found out that people started gathering three hours before the event.  The room could have been filled in the first hour with two more hours to go. That was amazing to me that people would gather for a seat three hours before Daniel Silva would arrive.

Who were those folks that got to the bookstore so early?  They were educated, fairly affluent, well-read (besides mystery novels) highly communicative, and very knowledgeable about the writing of Daniel Silva.  They were "disciples" of the author to the utmost degree.  I felt at home amidst these folks because we all had something in common.

I am not sure if I have ever witnessed Christ followers arriving for Bible study or worship three hours in advance. I know what you are the church we always have adequate seating. No, it was more than that. They love Daniel Silva.  He's my favorite author, but he has not changed my life! I enjoy reading his novels, in fact I will take the new one with me on vacation, but it is a far cry from God's Word.

The Silva followers love to have their books signed by the author.  They thank him for a certain character in his books.  I don't think I've ever heard anyone pray, "Lord, thank you so much for giving us Peter. You will never know the impact he has had on my life."  They buy multiple books as gifts.  Many had three and four new books at about $29 per book.  I wonder how many people in my church bought a hardback study Bible this week for one of their family members or friends?

The folks that I've been talking about would make great believers.  We, the church, are missing out on that kind of passion.  How can we ignite those around us to have that kind of passion?  It would change our world.  

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Family Makes the Difference in Life

What got me hooked on conspiracy mysteries?  I read part of Seven Days in May many, many years ago and then saw the movie.  I was immediately absorbed in political intrigue and any story that dealt with Washington, D.C.  Then, about 15 years ago I began to read novels and it was all a result of Seven Days in May.

If I started writing a non-fiction piece tonight, it would probably be titled Five Days in July, because I just had five wonderful days this week. 

On Tuesday I took my grandson, Reid, to the Houston Zoo.  We had a ball and Reid knew exactly what he wanted to see.  The weather was hot, with a slight breeze, but we started the day at 9:00 a.m.  We saw lazy lions, sleepy tigers, elephants getting a bath, monkeys eating breakfast, and so much more. We ended out day out at Chick-fil-A.

On Wednesday Miranda, Steve, Kason, and Kesleigh spent the night with me.  We had a great time.

On Thursday, the Corns, the Mathews, and I went to the Circus.  We took the kids for an up close and personal look at the animals before the circus performance.  Then we watched a great two-hour presentation by Ringling Bros./Barnum and Bailey.  We all felt that we really got our money's worth.  We went to a late lunch at Moonya's.

On Thursday night everybody was at my house for dinner.  I cooked steaks with a special Caribbean rub and Miranda fixed the rest of the dinner inside.  It was good, but the time together was even better.

On Friday Steve ran errands with me most of the afternoon.  Miranda  had a GNO so the guys had the children.  We ate leftover steaks and the trimmings, put the kids to bed and watched a movie.  Miranda and her Girls Night Out gals came home about 10:00.  We stayed up until  after 11:30 just talking.  It was all good!

Today we got up and Miranda supplied us with Shipley doughnuts.  Everybody left around noon and now it is sooooooo quiet!  It was five really great days though.  Now I am doing a little catch-up and it is all good too. 

Tomorrow my favorite author will be in town for a book signing.  Guess where I will be going?  To Murder By the Book, a bookstore in the Rice U. area.  My favorite author is Daniel Silva.  He always spends about an hour sharing info about his new book and following is the actual book signing.  It is strictly standing room only, so I am going early to get a seat. I always look forward to Silva's down to earth presentation about his preparation, research, characters, and other wonderful tidbits.

So much about is your week progressing?  I hope it has been as good as mine!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Keeps You Going?

I have been discipling folks since the late 1970's. My first recollection of ever using anything published by The Navigators was in the late 80's and it was called The 2:7 Series. At one time I had five groups going at the same time, all using different courses. My week was full, but it was amazingly fulfilling and over a few years I saw hundreds go through the course.

One of the basic tenants of the introductory course of The 2:7 Series was to incorporate The Wheel Illustration into one's life. The lordship of Christ, making Christ central in your life, is paramount to going further in your faith walk. If Christ was the center of your life, then there were four spokes that showed the evidence of your Christianity, each of which were vital to the Christian Life.

The four spokes were The Word, Prayer, Witnessing, and Fellowship. The Word and Prayer were depicted on a vertical plane, while Witnessing and Fellowship were shown on a horizontal plane. When all four were operational in one's life, it produces a balanced Christian life. The 2:7 Series would say that those around us see "The Obedient Christian in Action".

The Word is crucial in our daily lives and prayer becomes the overflow of spending time in the Word. Prayer produces power and the result is victorious Christian living. Fellowship is vital because we should always be learning from each other and encouraging those around us. If that element is missing, we become "loners". Witnessing is the natural by-product of a vibrant life in Christ that is attractive to others. You can see how the four fit together and how crippled we become if one is our of sync.

Anyone who has ever gone through, even the introductory course of The 2:7 Series, cannot forget the amazing Wheel Illustration. It is a checklist and evaluation of your Christian life. Now I learned that almost 30 years ago, hasn't the world changed tremendously in the last three decades?

The world has definitely changed in our lifetime, but the spiritual principals remain the same. If a person is not getting into the Word today, they are probably not praying and fellowship/witnessing takes a back seat whenever spiritual nutrition falls by the wayside. The result is a Christian who is out of balance and trying to live to the best of their natural ability.

I guess this post begs the question: "Have you ever made Jesus the Lord of your life?" That is the starting line for the Christian Marathon of Life. Isn't a marathon about 26 miles, 385 yards? It is a long way and so is the Christian life. Many runners "hit the wall" at about the 18 mile marker when every muscle in their body wants to quit. Sometimes that happens to us in life, when we don't think we can take one more step. The Wheel Illustration will keep us going when continuing looks impossible.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friends Are Paramount to Life

Last week Patti and I visited some dear friends in Naples, Florida. We have known Rob and Charmaine for 15 years, but they moved away from this area almost six years ago.  We have not been able to visit them during this time, mostly because of my work schedule. We finally made it!

Naples must be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. It lies on the west coast of southern Florida with fluffy white beaches and beautiful gulf waters. It is a real paradise. They say that there are more retired CEO's in Naples, per capita, than anywhere in the nation. I can see why they want to live there! 


While we were in Naples, Patti woke up, on her birthday, with a migraine. That ruined the day for her, but she was up and moving by the evening. Talk about missing one's birthday...Patti did! She made up for it on the beach looking for seashells. Patti thought she had died and gone to "Seashell Heaven".

I am not a fisherman. I never grew up around the water, so the most fishing I ever did as a kid was at a pond.  I went deep-sea fishing once on the morning after our high school graduation. The last time I remember fishing was on a lake outside of Texarkana in 1982-1983. Well, Rob and Charmaine took Patti and I fishing off the coast of Naples.  We do quite well "bait fishing", but never got a strike when we went off a reef for the game fish.  It was mega fun.

I told you the story about our three days in Naples as a lead-in to the subject of Friends. No, not the TV sitcom, but the concept and importance of friendship.  We met Rob and Charmaine when we moved to Tomball. In fact, they took us out to lunch on our first Sunday.  Rob was an elected leader in the church and Charmaine was involved in everything.  They were both natural leaders and as far as I am concerned, being a natural leader is far more important than holding an elected position.

Rob and Charmaine were real people.  They lived in the real world, had real challenges, made real decisions, and were wonderful role models for a number of people.  As we go through the journey of life, if we are fortunate, we will develop friends along the way.  I respected both of these people for eight years, but they also became friends.  I cannot imagine what life would have been like without them.

The other day I went shopping for a novel.  I went into Half Priced Books and as I was browsing around, I saw one of those Mystery Murder Dinner games.  You invite eight guests for dinner and they portray the characters during the evening, including dressing up for the part.  As soon as I saw the game I thought of Rob and Charmaine.  They had one of those dinners and we were invited.  That they did something unique like that always stayed in my mind.  They are two people who just do things like that.

Don't take friendships for granted.  Friendships have to be fostered.  They will grow if you will give them a chance. Some of the friendships that we make in life can remain for a lifetime. They are a gift from God and I think Rob and Charmaine are one of those gifts---not just to us, but to everyone they touch.  Rob seems to be really laid back, but there is more there than meets the eye.  Charmaine seems to be "the life of the party" (the ultimate hostess, the fun person that we all want to be like), but if this is all you see, you will miss the serious-minded,, thought-provoking person who is deep in many different ways.  You can see how they fit together.

I know that Rob and Charmaine will remain our friends for the rest of this earthly experience. We all need relationships like these in our lives.  Take an inventory this week and see where you stand. If the evaluation disappoints you, do something about it. If the end result is satisfactory and you are being honest with yourself, just thank God.

The journey thru life is full of relationships. How full is your life?